As the month of March comes to an end we begin to look ahead to what the rest of the Spring months have to offer. March was a rather warm month with temperatures averaging almost four degrees above average. It was also a rather rainy month with just a little over five inches of rain falling, placing March 2020 as the fourth wettest March on record.
It looks like the warm trend will continue into the month of April with a higher probability for above average temperatures for much of the middle and eastern half of the country. The Northwest looks to favor a higher probability for below average temperatures. As for precipitation, the outlook favors a higher probability for above average precipitation across the middle part of the country, as well as in the Gulf states, Southeast and West Coast. Now that’s not to say that northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin won’t see some decent rain in the days to come. The short-term forecast does favor a slightly higher chance for above average precipitation for the first week and a half, to two weeks, of the month.
Going into the month of April soil moisture was already within the 95th-99th percentile in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
Soil moisture was fairly high going into the winter months and continues to remain high now. The strong wind Sunday and Monday, combined with the sunshine, did help with some of the standing water from Friday night/Saturday night’s rainfall. As we get a little more sun and trees begin to bloom, the evaporation and evapotranspiration rates will increase, taking a little more of the moisture out of the soil. This is important because in just under a month Spring planting will begin, assuming soil and weather conditions are decent. A cool and wet start to the planting season, like last year, could delay farmers getting into the fields.